Some users are just noticing that AvidLogExchange, the application (not the file format .ale) is no longer a product and part of the installer starting with v8. Some will notice that Avid MediaLog is no longer available and I wrote my thoughts about that here last November (2013).
AvidLogExchange has been around for a long time when there used to be more than a half dozen “log” types that were common from different vendors such as Aaton, Evertz, and KeyScope; all formats that were part of the film-to-tape logging solutions as well as some common video logging applications in the 90’s. Those formats have not used for almost 15 years as the ALE format became a pseudo standard due to its dominance in the NLE market throughout the 90’s. So those formats will not be missed, but the application still did some interesting tricks that fit different workflows needs that are still in use. A few of them would be quite easy to implement directly in Media Composer. A Product Manager at Avid (no longer there) even called me at the time and asked what I thought about them EOL’ing (End Of Life) Avid Log Exchange in a future release. I said as long as the handful of useful features were not lost, it would not be a big deal. Unfortunately that did not happen, but may still appear in a future release.
Those features are:
- Both FCP log files to ALE (format) conversion. Helped in moving source metadata to Avid.There’s still a lot of FCP 7 and earlier being used.
- ALE Clean function. This prevented logs created outside the system to not have overlapping START and END timecode as it would create confusion during list generation as a timecode could point to different sources. This is more common with tape based sources, but can still occur with FileMaker type databases and exporting files to be used in Media Composer which leads to:
- TAB to ALE conversion. This is one of the bigger ones. A user could open a TAB file in ALE, then it would add the Global Header information required by the import. I would say that the global header information is helpful for timing checks during import, but this could easily be done by Avid allowing a TAB file without global header or data fields “Column” and “Data”. The first line in the file can be assumed to be column names, and lines 2+ as the data. This would eliminate a lot of frustration of getting the header just right and copy/pasting. Also, seeing as Media Composer can export a TAB file, it just makes sense.
- Record timecode as Source. While somewhat special, it does help with those looking to bring in an EDL and notch an existing flattened program file. It was original developed to support a post audio sync process on dailies, but now has uses as blogged about here (using DaVinci Resolve for Scene Detection).
- The Windows version had a nice text editor in it including search/replace functionality which is quite useful these days when dealing with Tape and Source File merging workflows. It also had a nice two window view so you could compare original file and resulting .ALE.
The ALE format is still a popular shotlog exchange format, and using the different ALE import/merge functions allow for some nice batch renaming/subclipping processes that will be part of a future blog, but it is getting a little long in the tooth and needs an update to fit more modern workflows with an XML schema that would allow for markers, and such to imported as a batch process on multiple clips, etc. And that too is a subject for another day.